Getting back to school mode is by far one of the trickiest things a student needs to overcome, especially when their nights are practically non-existent and the morning/afternoon hours are used instead to replace lost sleeping time. Whatever the case maybe, with summer coming to a close and the school bookstore sending emails saying “Buy Textbooks Now!” It can be a case of shell-shock all over again and realizing that living on a budget is not that far off.
Why budget your finances? A budget is useful to help a person breakdown their income and see where their money is going to, like necessary payments or bills and unnecessary trips to Starbucks. It also helps to determine what you do not need to add more room to another area of financial need.
With the average tuition currently at $28,240 (not including school fees or books) the number alone can be a scary thing for an incoming freshmen, however more then 70 percent of DePaul students work while attending school . While many students may have found what works for them there is always room for improvement.
Creating a budget is a lot easier then keeping it and the only things you need to create a budget is discipline and basic math skills. A big plus to keeping a budget would be to having a financial institution, having a bank will make things a lot easier because when you put money away it makes it harder to spend it when you don’t physically have it.
So how do we go about to starting a budget?
- Add up all your income and divide by the number of months it took you to earn it, this will give you your monthly income.
- Add up and list all your necessary expenses, these would most likely consist of school tuition, books, rent, and food.
- List and add all your unnecessary expenses such as concerts, dining out, movies, etc. When you add both necessary and unnecessary, you should get an amount that is lower then your monthly income if not, you need to cut back on unnecessary items.
Once you have a budget, stick to it because discipline is the key to keeping a successful budget and a great plus to having a budget is saving a certain amount of your income to your bank of choice. Even if its couch change or change from the grocery store, save those pennies because they do add up when you least expect them too.
Other helpful tips
Take advantage of the Upass DePaul offers, the Upass is charged on a quarterly basis to all full-time students. It is charged to every full time student can cannot be deleted from a students, so take advantage of it! Chicago has a large public transportation that goes everywhere in and out of the city and is pretty reliable so use it!
Drink less lattes. Buying a grande caramel macchiato for $3.55 twice a week adds up to $28.40 a month! There are people who cannot live or function without some sort of caffeine so opt for the less expensive brand or make your own at home.
Opt for the store brand instead of the pricey brand, the store brand is just as good the pricey brand and in some cases packed and made in the same factory. The store brand does not necessarily mean bad quality just a good buy. While it may seem a bit overwhelming to think it is back to living the college life these are lifelong skills that you’ll keep.